Coffee With Kyle: Legendary NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier (Parts 1 & 2)

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This week’s two-part “Coffee With Kyle” is a sure-to-be classic with a classic broadcaster, NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier.

Kyle Petty visited Squier at the radio station which has been in his family since 1930, WDEV Radio/Radio Free Vermont, in Waterbury, Vermont (Squier still works at the station today, including giving daily sports updates).

It’s where Squier got his start at the tender age of 15, calling sprint car and midget car races in his home state.

That was where I decided I would spend the rest of my life,” Squier told Petty. “God, I loved those cars and I had to find a way to do it (for his profession).”

Squier’s life has been split between covering NASCAR and short track racing. At the age of 25, and a 10-year veteran of motorsports by that point, Squier was part of a group that built Thunder Road International Speedbowl – a high-banked, quarter-mile asphalt oval that still operates today.

A few years after that, Squier helped co-found and began calling NASCAR races for the Motor Racing Network. Both his life and the sport of NASCAR would never be the same.

Squier became the voice of NASCAR at first. But then he eventually moved in front of the TV camera to become the face of NASCAR as well for ABC, then CBS and TBS.

Shortly after World War II, Squier met fellow legendary broadcaster Chris Economaki, who became a close friend and a mentor to the lanky kid from Vermont.

He became the singular voice,” Squier said of Economaki. “I was fascinated by him. He really understood (racing).”

Then in a humorous twist, Squier compared his own “racing career” with that of Economaki.

He, too, started out to be a racer; I think he ran one race,” Squier said. “I thought I was the next Indianapolis star.

I ran a couple heats (in a local race in Vermont) and a guy in a six-cylinder Plymouth and I went down into Turn 1 and I knew no one had ever surpassed what I was doing in that corner.

This guy pulled up alongside me, waved and went on. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I have to rethink all this.’”

Among some of the most notable accomplishments of Squier’s career was not only calling so many races – including every Daytona 500 from 1979 through 1997 – but also some of the great phraseology that Squier brought to the sport, including the following:

* “These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

* “Common men doing uncommon deeds.

* “The Great American Race,” which became the motto of the Daytona 500

* “The Alabama Gang”

Check out Part 1 of Petty’s interview with Squier in the video above.

And then when you’re done, click the video below for Part 2 of the interview.

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Daniel Hemric fastest in final practice; Kevin Harvick second

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Daniel Hemric turned the fastest lap Friday in the final Cup practice at Kansas Speedway, turning a 177.830 mph lap in his No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.

Kevin Harvick was second followed by Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski (who paced the first practice) and Ryan Blaney.

Hemric has yet to announce a ride for 2020 after RCR announced last month that the rookie would be replaced by Tyler Reddick next season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.

Here are the rankings speeds of the other playoff drivers: Denny Hamlin 12th; Alex Bowman 15th; Joey Logano 16th; Clint Bowyer 19th; Chase Elliott 20th; and William Byron 22nd.

Click here to see where things stand in the playoffs standings entering Sunday’s second-round cutoff race at Kansas.

Click here for speeds from the final practice at Kansas.

Click here for the speeds during the first Cup practice of the weekend at Kansas.

Ryan Preece praises team for its work after hauler fire

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ryan Preece praised his team for converting teammate Chris Buescher’s backup car into Preece’s primary car Friday after the hauler carrying Preece’s cars and equipment caught fire this week en route to Kansas Speedway.

“I know some of the guys haven’t had much sleep, very proud of them,” Preece said.

The team’s hauler pulled over near New Columbia, Illinois, on Thursday after a fire in the rear axle area that spread to the hauler. A team spokesperson told NBC Sports that crew chief Eddie Pardue and a couple of team members flew there to take what could be salvaged before driving to Kansas City.

The team spokesperson said that the lockers and uniforms in the hauler were heavily damaged. Both cars had damage with the backup car suffering smoke damage.

NASCAR allowed JTG Daugherty Racing to enter the garage at 8 a.m. ET Friday — five hours before the garage was scheduled to open — and allowed members from both JTG Daugherty teams to work on the car. Preece said he was there with the team when it arrived and worked on the interior as the crew converted the car.

“We’re in it as a team,” Preece said. “I wasn’t going to show up later in the afternoon. I wanted them to know that I was right there with them. I wanted to help in every way I could.”

Preece said his car was loose in the first practice session Friday at Kansas Speedway. He was 32nd on the speed chart in that session, making it on track about 10 minutes after practice began.

Brad Keselowski fastest in first practice at Kansas; Kyle Busch makes big save

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Brad Keselowski turned the fastest lap with a minute remaining in Friday afternoon’s first Cup practice at Kansas Speedway.

The 176.499-mph lap by the No. 2 Ford of Team Penske nipped a 176.389 mph lap by the No. 10 Ford of Aric Almirola.

Daniel Suarez was third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney. Kurt Busch, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top 10.

Here’s how other playoff drivers fared during the practice:

Kyle Larson 11th; Joey Logano 13th; Clint Bowyer 15th; William Byron 20th; Alex Bowman 21st; Kyle Busch (who had an impressive save; video below) 22nd; Chase Elliott 23rd.

Click here to see where things stand in the playoffs standings entering Sunday’s second-round cutoff race at Kansas.

Click here for the speeds during the first Cup practice of the weekend at Kansas.

Gray Gaulding out Friday after suspected allergic reaction

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Stewart-Haas Racing plane made an unscheduled stop in St. Louis on Friday after Gray Gaulding had a suspected allergic reaction.

SS Green Light Racing confirmed Gaulding had an issue en route to Kansas City. A Stewart-Haas Racing spokesperson confirmed that its plane made the unscheduled stop, and that emergency personnel came on board after the plane landed. Gaulding remained in St. Louis while the plane continued to Kansas City.

SS Green Light Racing stated that after arriving at the track, Gaulding went to the infield care center and was not cleared to drive Friday. Gaulding will be re-evaluated Saturday. J.J. Yeley drove the car for Gaulding in practice Friday.